Indian American gears up for Michigan primary

Inspired by the Gandhian principle of ‘Be the change that you wish to see in the world’, Indian-American entrepreneur Suneel Gupta is seeking to enter U.S. Congress to fight against the special interests of the corporate sector, which he believes have peaked under the Donald Trump Administration.

“Our family has always been very principled in the ideals that if you don’t like what you see, you have to do what (Mahatma) Gandhi said, be the change, you cannot sit on the sidelines,” said Mr. Gupta, 38, as he explained the reasons for jumping into electoral politics, which is new to his illustrious family from Michigan.

His mother, Damayanti Gupta, was the first woman engineer with a degree at Ford Motor Company and his elder brother, Sanjay Gupta, is a popular CNN health reporter.

A ‘toss-up’ seat

Mr. Gupta, who holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management and a law degree from the Northwestern University, is running for the U.S. House of Representatives from the 11th Congressional District of Michigan. Given the current political climate, pundits have described this as a “toss-up” seat.

It is currently being held by Republican David Trott, who is not seeking his re-election.

Fighting special interests

The August 7 primaries will see Mr. Gupta contesting against four other Democrats for the party’s candidacy. As per latest figure from the Federal Election Commission (FEC), he has raised more than $1.3 million, which is more than any of his competitors.

The zeal to fight for the common people against the special interests, he says, comes from his mother. “She was on the other side of the border when Partition happened. They fled, and she ended up in a refugee camp as a little girl. My grandparents — her parents — spent every penny they possibly could to get her an education… in 1967, she became Ford Motor Company’s first female engineer,” he said.

Members of the Indian-American community in the district are not only providing him with financial support, but also with their time and sweat. “Because they believe that it’s time to send an Indian American to Congress from Michigan,” he said.

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